These alumni notes reflect the period from August 2013 to the present.
The Hon. Brad Cates of McLennan County Court at Law No. 2 has been elected to membership in the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation. Fellows of the Foundation are selected for their outstanding professional achievements and their demonstrated commitment to the improvement of the justice system throughout the state of Texas. Election is a mark of distinction and recognition of Judge Cates' contribution to the legal profession. Selection as a Fellow of the Foundation is restricted to members of the State Bar of Texas. Each year, the number of State Bar members invited to become Fellows represents just one-third of 1 percent of membership. Once nominees are selected, they must be elected by the Texas Bar Foundation Board of Trustees. Membership has grown from an initial 254 charter Fellows in 1965 to more than 7,500 Fellows throughout Texas today.
Kathryn Snapka was inducted as an American College of Trial Lawyers Fellow for 2012. Fellowship in the college is limited to the top 1 percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province. Fellowship status is extended by invitation only, after careful investigation, to those experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility, and collegiality. Lawyers must have a minimum of 15 years trial experience before they may be considered for a fellowship. Snapka has her own law firm, The Snapka Law Firm, in Corpus Christi.
Trey Apffel was sworn-in as president-elect of the State Bar of Texas during its annual meeting in June. Apffel is the owner and principal of the Apffel Law Firm in League City, where he focuses on personal injury litigation, toxic torts, and medical malpractice.
Kenneth Broughton has joined Reed Smith LLP as a partner in the new Houston office. He is a member of the U.S. Commercial Litigation practice group. Broughton previously worked for Haynes & Boone. He has more than 25 years of experience representing corporate clients and individuals in a broad spectrum of business and employment disputes, and litigation. He has represented clients in the following industries: health care, banking, oil and gas, waste disposal, technology, and construction, among others. Broughton has significant financial services litigation experience and is a well-known attorney in the Houston market.
Jerry Clements has been re-elected chairwoman of the law firm Locke Lord LLP. She has headed since 2006. As leader of the law firm, Clements had overseen the 2007 merger between Texas-based Locke Liddell & Sapp, and Chicago-based Lord, Bissell & Brook. She also was instrumental in expanding the firm's international presence with offices in London and Hong Kong.
Debora B. Alsup, a partner Thompson & Knight, was named a "Future Stars - Texas" by Benchmark Litigation 2014. This is the second consecutive year Alsup has received this honor. Benchmark Litigation's rankings are the result of extensive interviews with litigators and their clients and review of casework to identify the leading litigators and firms.
Keith Branyon of Jackson Walker's Forth Worth offices was selected by Fort Worth, Texas magazine as one of its 2013 Fort Worth "Top Attorneys" in the field of probate, estates and trust. The list will be published in the December issue of the magazine.
Karen Crawford has joined California-based Stearns Lending as chief legal officer. In this role, Crawford leads the overall legal, compliance, and internal audit strategy and functions for Stearns' multi-
channel mortgage origination, sales, and servicing operations. Prior to joining Stearns Lending, Crawford served as chief risk officer at MetLife Bank, where she was responsible for monitoring and mitigation of credit, operational, legal, and regulatory risks of the bank's operations. Crawford's career has included legal positions with MetLife Home Loans mortgage division of MetLife Bank, Fannie Mae, and Countrywide Home Loans. Crawford also represented clients in a variety of real estate and mortgage lending transactions during her tenure in private law practice.
Curtis Fenley III was presented with the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce's annual Silver Spike Award. The award is given to 10-year Leadership Lufkin graduates for community service and leadership.
John L. Grayson of the firm Cokinos Bosien & Young has been elected to membership in the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation. Fellows of the foundation are selected for their outstanding professional achievements and their demonstrated commitment to the improvement of the justice system throughout the state of Texas. Election is a mark of distinction and recognition of Grayson's contributions to the legal profession. Selection as a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation is restricted to members of the state bar of Texas.
Susan G. Morrison is on the Texas board of directors for the League of Women Voters. Morrison focuses on education law. Her firm, The Fowler Law Firm, PC, has been recognized for excellence in the practice of education law by U.S. News and World Report for 2014.
Stephen Gibson was recently hired as a senior attorney at Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr P.C., a Texas-based law firm with more than 110 attorneys and offices in Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Gibson joins the business litigation practice group. His practice primarily focuses on providing guidance and analysis in contractual and extra-contractual liability insurance disputes, and representing clients post-trial and on appeal.
Steve Fogle of Jackson Walker L.L.P. in San Antonio was named to S.A. Scene's 2013 Best S.A. Lawyers list.
M. Beth Krugler was honored with the Dallas Bar Association's Professionalism Award. Krugler operates a mediation, training, and consulting firm in Fort Worth.
Dan Chapman of Jackson Walker L.L.P. in San Antonio was named to S.A. Scene's 2013 Best S.A. Lawyers list.
Stephen Cockerham has been named the Dallas office managing partner of Husch Blackwell.
John Porter has been named Partner in Charge for Baker Botts L.L.P.'s Houston office. Porter has spent the past 27 years with the firm in Houston, earning top honors for representing clients on wealth management issues. He is currently a senior partner in the tax department, handling federal gift, estate and income tax litigation and controversy work, and has served many years on the firm's Admissions Information Committee.
George "Tex" Quesada of the Dallas firm of Sommerman & Quesada L.L.P. was named the recipient of the 2012 Gene Cavin Award for Excellence in Continuing Education. Named for the State Bar's first full-time CLE director, the award is the highest honor given annually by the State Bar of Texas in the area of continuing legal education. Quesada is a past president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association.
Laura Bellegie Sharp is currently serving in the House of Delegates for the American Bar Association. She has her own firm, The Sharp Firm, in Austin.
William "Bill" D. Old III was recently elected District Judge of the 25th Judicial District comprising Guadalupe, Gonzales, Lavaca and Colorado counties.
John Meredith was named SpringSpirit Baseball's first executive director and general counsel. SpringSpirit Baseball, founded in 2010, is a Houston-based nonprofit creating a community facility and programs benefiting underserved Spring Branch youth.
Jerry L. Stovall Jr. of Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P. in Baton Rouge, La., has been listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for Louisiana. Stovall's practice areas are labor and employment.